The Ellen Conford Personal Archive and Juvenile Book Collection was generously donated to LIU Post's Archives and Special Collections in May, 2016 by David Conford, husband of award-winning juvenile author Ellen Conford. The collection contains more than 140 books (hardcover and paperback), leather bound presentation copies to Ellen from her publisher, periodicals, mixed media and selected personal archives. These personal and selected unique items, coming directly from the author's family, make this a priceless contribution. The collection is housed separately, within the American Juvenile Collection.
Ellen Conford was born in New York City. Thanks to a moving biographical piece written for the archive by David Conford about his wife, we have rich insight into the ups-and-downs in Ellen Conford's prolific writing career. Ellen wrote forty-six books over a thirty-three year publishing career and several were made into movies! Her first five early "True Confessions" and "YA" stories were published between 1969-1971 in magazines such as TEEN.
Impossible Possum was Ellen's first book, published in 1971, which launched her career as a sought after children's book author. David Conford described how Ellen's second book Why Can't I Be William? was written in five days! Ellen Conford's popular juvenile writing made her a household name. David writes that some books came easily to Ellen, others a struggle and a few never completed. Only two of her forty-six books were set in a time period other than the year they were written. Ellen loved to read joke books and practice corny humor on her husband and friends for her upcoming books. David lauded Ellen as a disciplined writer who wrote every morning and edited her work in the afternoon.
On a delightful note, "ELLEN CONFORD" was a long entry in a 1980 Sunday [New York] Times Crossword Puzzle. Ellen was also first cousin to and fast friends with another prolific juvenile writer, Susan Beth Pfeffer.
She was loved by her family and friends and will continue to be remembered by generations of readers.
Archives and Special Collections
B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library
LIU Post Campus
Long Island University
Brookville, NY 11548
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